January 30, 2014

Positive Questions

Have you ever used affirmations? Have they given you results? I have read lots on the power of affirmations but must admit I have never really used them.

However, when I saw “The Book of Afformations” by Noah St. John, I was intrigued. Mr. St. John came upon a realization that our subconscious mind acts upon questions. If we pose questions to ourselves, things happen.

I was happy to test out this theory. For the past few weeks, I have reframed my thinking to be in the form of positive questions. I think, along the guidelines provided by Mr. St. John, “Why do I provide such great service to my customers?” Interestingly enough, using this questioning technique has coincided with many opportunities to prove my customer service skills.

This questioning technique can be related to projects. For teambuilding, perhaps the project team could think this way: “Why do we get our work done so efficiently? Why do we provide such great value to our customers and company?” These questions are starting points. Your team will undoubtedly come up with excellent questions themselves. Then, it will be interesting to see what happens.

It doesn't cost anything to use the technique and I would encourage you do to so. Let me know your results!

January 16, 2014

Project Management Truisms Ring True

I went to a fascinating presentation on lessons learned from projects yesterday. The two presenters analyzed ten projects they had worked with and came up with twelve lessons learned. I listened intently.

Of great interest to me was that these were not project management professionals and did not even use the term 'project management' in their talk. What lessons did they come up with? Among them were:

  1. Senior leadership needs to be committed to the process and open to the outcome.
  2. Make sure the purpose and intention of your project are clear. If you are confused, everyone else will be too.
  3. Go slow to go fast. Planning and implementing an effective and meaningful project takes time. Are you ready for this?

Do these findings sound familiar to you? The findings underlined for me that the theories of project management ring true. The personnel involved in these projects discovered these truths from their own experience.

So, I conclude that whether you think in project terms or not, having a sponsor you can rely on, having a clear vision and purpose for what you are doing, and planning are fundamental principles of success for any work.

January 10, 2014

Risk and Dr. Seuss

I was talking with a friend over Christmas who told me of a crisis she had been through. She was in a foreign country and received word that a large contract of hers back home was having major unexpected difficulties.

Here she was, far from home and her customer. What was her first thought? Panic. The second was “Hold on a minute, what can I solve by panicking?” So she called a colleague who helped her out, she put the situation in a positive frame in her mind, and let it go.

The result? The contract wasn’t cancelled, things settled, and my friend got to enjoy her holiday at peace. Whether the contract was cancelled or not, my friend had decided that it would all work out, so that was a success in itself.

As Project Managers, we have decisions to make all of the time. Some of these decisions may cause us stress if we feel out of control. So - what to do? Besides having a risk strategy in place, with risk responses planned for those potential threats or opportunities, having the mindset to deal with stress can go a long way. If we know that things can happen and frequently do (thanks Dr. Seuss!), then we can handle them. Of course, when we work out how to proceed if a crisis does occur, we don’t need to focus on the potential problems and can dig up the prepared solution when/if they happen. Like having the masks ready-to-go on the airplanes.

May you be off to Great Places!